More accessible and effective health solutions: What is the social impact and economic potential?
A steepening trajectory
Public health spending is expected to rise in the coming years – especially in a post-COVID-19 era. Given this backdrop, it is unsurprising that one of the main priorities for governments and individuals worldwide is to get better access to quality medical coverage and to limit the cost to society, especially given the planet’s aging population.
Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has starkly highlighted the need for robust preventive measures – as well as the importance of public support for scientific research.
The advances made in recent decades in terms of scientific discoveries and technological progress now make it possible to envisage medicine that is more accessible, more effective, and, above all, more personalized.
At AXA IM, we seek to support such innovation by targeting companies tackling these issues head-on and providing solutions to the world’s myriad of medical challenges.
DexCom’s mission, for example, is to help patients with diabetes take charge of their disease. The California-based firm has developed a cutting-edge system using discreet sensors, whereby through an individual’s smartphone, their blood glucose levels can be continuously monitored, so there is no need to take blood samples. The company continues to innovate and aims to improve its products reliability, connectivity, design, and cost-benefits.
According to McKinsey, telehealth use is now 38 times higher than pre-pandemic levels.1 We believe virtual services can help relieve congested medical systems, strengthen preventive medicine by lowering barriers to access, and reduce health costs.
Teladoc Health is a global leader in virtual care and has more than 70 million members worldwide.2 Its services cover daily care, like that offered by a family doctor, as well as referrals to specialists. The company also offers pediatric, mental health, wellness, and prevention services.
There is also US health insurer Centene. It mainly acts as an intermediary for state-funded healthcare programs – such as Medicaid – which represents some 67% of the company’s revenues (as of 12/31/2020).3
Veeva Systems is a provider of cloud-based software solutions for the life sciences industry. The company has more than 1,100 customers including large pharmaceutical groups and biotechnology companies. Applications developed by Veeva Systems (including Veeva Vault Clinical, Veeva Vault RIM, and Veeva Safety) help accelerate clinical development, improve safety, and simplify regulatory approval of new therapies.
India is another area demanding better health facilities and higher quality care. Diagnostic testing is a major growth area, although the country remains largely under-served (especially in rural areas). Dr. Lal PathLabs, a Delhi-based diagnostic and related healthcare tests provider, , has established a nationwide network of laboratories in India and provides a range of diagnostic tests, enabling disease prevention, surveillance, and treatment.
Through its various access programs, AstraZeneca aims to reach 50 million people by 2025.4 It focuses primarily on non-communicable diseases (e.g., oncology, cardiovascular, renal and metabolism, respiratory, and immunology), which affect millions of people around the world. AstraZeneca has partnered with the University of Oxford to produce and distribute one of the COVID-19 vaccines. The company is committed to providing the vaccine for zero profit during the pandemic and will make it available to low-income countries for no profit in perpetuity. AstraZeneca has actively participated in Covax, an initiative aiming to provide equitable access to vaccination against COVID-19 in 200 countries.
The theme of protection, a strong social and economic dimension
The development of new therapies, as well as advances in disease diagnosis and prevention, enable an improvement in populations’ quality of life and longevity. Technological democratization is also driving rapid change by transforming the way under-served populations can access essential services.
There are significant social and economic challenges, and we consider the prospects for innovation and international development to be promising in the long term.
The companies are named as an illustration only and do not constitute investment advice or a recommendation from AXA IM.